Thursday, 1 May 2014

Pottermore: Magical online world of Harry Potter

The beginnings

In  this article, I am going to write about a very special example on the digital media influence on books. You probably heard about the webpage At first, it looks like a regular fanpage, but it's not. This is the official webpage founded by Sony and J.K. Rowling in order to publish the Harry Potter books online. However, they decided to do this in a very extraordinary way.
In April 2009, Pottermore was created, but it has been in a development for two years. Afterwards, the webpage started to roll out for the first million users in July 2011 and then, it was officially open in April 2012 to everyone free of charge.
Digital media allowed them to include also many special features to improve the reader experience and to attract many fans. The fact, that the webpage is official and created by the author of the series makes it very popular and the unpublished content attracts even more readers.

Pottermore isn’t a game: it’s a series of illustrated environments, themed around “moments” from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (material from the other novels will be added with time). The primary attraction for Potterphiles is access to arcana Rowling’s been squirreling away in her attic.
Read more:
This is the official video advert published on YouTube to promote the webpage. It describes the special features and the main purpose of the webpage:

Magical bookshop

This is the official source of Harry Potter ebooks and therefore they can be found nowhere else. If you want to buy it from Amazon, the webpage trasfers you into Pottermore shop that claims to be the "only place to buy the Harry Potter eBooks for your Amazon Kindle." The prices of the books vary, every one costs around 5 pounds, and there is a possibility of buying a collection for a reduced price. The ebooks that are available can be read on computer, are compatible with all e-readers and thanks to the free Kindle App everyone can use their smartphones to read, as well.

User experience

The opinions of the fans vary. The fans are quite demanding and expect a lot from the official webpage created by J.K.Rowling. Therefore negative feedback can be found quite often. But there is still a huge fan base happy with the webpage, that keeps it going.
Here are a couple of users' opinions:

Maryia Ivanova:
I love Harry Potter and so naturally, I was very excited when I first heard about Pottermore. I am still using it and enjoy it very much. I like the fact that they have picked a few moments of each chapter and illustrated them, also adding interactive games and sometimes excerpts of the audio books. You can also brew potions, which I liked as well.

Elin Nilsson:
It's very nice but it doesn't live out to its full potential. I'm using it sometimes, but I'm now very far behind. I think that it could be so much better... I would appreciate if it was a little bit more interactive and if there were more forums.

Veronika Hribova:
As a fan of Harry Potter, I expected very much from this website. I was looking forward to it for quite a long time, but it didnt really keep me interested for more than a week. On the other hand, I liked the Sorting hat, that sorted me into the faculty. It was like a small test of my personality. I enjoyed this part very much.

Dominika Slusna:
The admins of the webpage often ask children to draw pictures, which is very creative and supports other interests other than sitting in front of the computer. There are often competitions for the School Cup, where everyone has to gain points in order to win. That supports team work and co-operation. It's interesting to see children teaming up and fighting for the mutual goal, helping each other in the game.

As you can see, the opinions of people are both negative and positive. There are many possibilities how to improve the webpage, but it is important to say, that the idea of how to connect digital media with one of the most favourite books of the last years is amazing.

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